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Chronic Disease

Northern Virginia Internal Medicine and Pediatrics

Internal Medicine & Family Medicine & Pediatrician & Internist located in Arlington, VA

Any medical condition that requires long-term care and prevents you from participating in normal activities like work or exercise is considered chronic. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that chronic diseases are the leading cause of disability in America, accounting for $3.8 trillion dollars in health care costs every year. At Northern Virginia Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Mary Ellen Gallagher, MD regularly diagnoses and treats people living with chronic disease. We offer no judgement and want you to be seen for your medical issues. Call the office in Arlington, Virginia, or click the online booking tool to make an appointment today.

Chronic Disease Q & A

What are some common chronic diseases?

The team at Northern Virginia Internal Medicine and Pediatrics treats a variety of chronic diseases, including: 

Heart disease

Heart, or cardiovascular, disease is the most common chronic disease in the United States. If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, you’re also more likely to experience a heart attack or stroke. 

To manage your condition, your Northern Virginia Internal Medicine and Pediatrics provider might recommend lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, in coordination with prescription medications to keep your numbers in check. 


There are over 100 different types of arthritis, a rheumatic illness that affects your joints, and causes inflammation. Regular exercise, healthy eating, and certain prescription medications can ease pain and stiffness and improve your overall mobility. 


Diabetes is a chronic disease defined by high blood sugar levels. If you have prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes, your Northern Virginia Internal Medicine and Pediatrics provider might recommend dietary changes, weight-loss counseling, and regular exercise to prevent your symptoms from getting worse. 

However, if you have Type 1 diabetes, prescription medication, including insulin therapy, is necessary to prevent nerve damage and other problems.  


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) describes three different respiratory ailments including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and refractory asthma. The Northern Virginia Internal Medicine and Pediatrics team can develop a treatment plan that helps you breathe more clearly, which might include inhalers or oral steroids to ease your symptoms.

What I can do to prevent chronic disease?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent chronic disease entirely. However, there are steps you can take to significantly lower your risk. The team at Northern Virginia Internal Medicine and Pediatrics recommends living a healthy and active lifestyle. This includes:

  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Participating in preventive exams and screenings
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Managing your stress levels

You can also lower your risk of chronic disease by drinking plenty of water and avoiding bad habits like using tobacco products or drinking too much alcohol. 

What is chronic disease management?

Chronic disease management is an integrated, holistic approach to treating disease that involves preventive measures including regular screenings, check-ups, monitoring, and patient education. 

It also includes coordinated care between providers to relieve your symptoms, reduce the cost of health care, and improve your overall quality of life. 

If you’re living with a chronic disease, don’t wait to seek treatment. To request your chronic disease management appointment, call the office or click the online booking tool today.